Ah, Kripalu...

This week I am off to my fourth and final module at Kripalu School of Ayurveda and will graduate with my 300 hour Advanced Yoga Training on December 17th with the emphasis on Ayurveda. Kripalu is not only a yoga school and retreat center but also a style of yoga. If you look up different types of yoga on the Internet you will find that results include: Hatha, Bikram, Iyengar, Kundalini, and Kripalu to name a few. Honestly, I chose my 300 hour program based upon a timeframe for completion that suited my goals rather than the "best option" for my journey. Well, as it turned out, both of those are true.

I had first heard of Kripalu during my 200 hour yoga teacher training. My lead instructor had mentioned it during one of our discussions and I could see a glimmer in his eyes as he spoke of his experience there. He was at a completely different place on his journey than I was at the time and I didn't understand Ayurveda, Kripalu, Sanskrit, and at least 450 other terms and concepts he threw out casually during our training weekends together. But now, I get it.

I did not go away to college. I worked three jobs, went to school full-time, and was raising two kids as a single mom. I never had a roommate aside from kids or a husband. As a child I never went to sleep-away camp and the closest thing to that was a weekend at my grandparents one bedroom, one bathroom apartment with my two sisters. So Kripalu for me was a whole new world. As I made my reservations I chose a single room with a public hallway bathroom and shower. This way, I thought, I could be social but also have alone time so I could work on my day job as well as the yoga studio business when I wasn't in class. That was extremely ambitious!

A day in my life at Kripalu. Wake at 5:30am. Walk down the hallway in silence to shower and dress for the day. Arrive in the classroom at 6:30 am in silence for morning yoga practice. At 8:00 am break for silent breakfast. Either eat in silence at a table with others or take my breakfast to my room and return to the classroom by 9:00 am. Spend 3 amazing hours learning from experts in their fields and trying to absorb every moment so I can bring back all of that information and share it with my community. Jotting down notes for workshops, blog post topics, and other inspiring ideas. By noon we are ready to break for lunch. A luxurious two hour lunch! I would either sit with new friends, take my lunch outside, or eat in my room depending on what all I had going on in my head and then make time to go for a lovely solitary walk, usually finding myself standing in front of the beautiful altar with Ganesha who is always adorned with fruit and other gifts. By 2:00 pm I was ready to return to class and continue learning and growing with each topic presented until being released at 6:00 pm for dinner. Sometimes we would have evening sessions in our program but on evenings that were free I would often find a yoga class or other event to participate in before showering and heading off to bed and finding myself fast asleep by 10:00 pm.

Having spent 33 days thus far at Kripalu and about to embark on the remaining 11 days to complete this training has left a deep imprint on me. Through my work with the government since 2001, I have been to many agencies and organizations as well as ten locations in Afghanistan, all of which have had an imprint on me, but Kripalu has had a very deep and very personal imprint that has changed the trajectory of my life. I do not say that lightly.

The experiences I have had at Kripalu over the course of this year have shaped me into the person I have become today. The way that I look at my practice, how I lead a class, and even the way that I talk to others has been forever changed because I have changed. Kripalu has provided me the space in which to grow and to listen and to simply "be". I am grateful to my yoga instructor for sharing his knowledge and for encouraging me to be my authentic self and for Kripalu for showing me the path through which each day I am getting closer becoming my authentic self.